Pre-season is underway under Rodgers so what’s next for Celtic’s Irish contingent?

Brendan Rodgers, John Kennedy and co. were pictured back at Lennoxtown today as their Celtic players returned to first team training.

And Celtic’s Assistant Manager, who rejected an offer to join Ange Postecoglou at Tottenham Hotspur in favour of remaining at the club he joined in 1998, to work once again alongside Brendan Rodgers, has been speaking to Celtic TV…

Over the coming weeks, players across the periphery of the squad will try their best to make an impression on Rodgers but could any of Celtic’s first team Irish contingent have a future under their fellow countryman? let’s have a look and the Irish Bhoys at Celtic and there chances of making an impact under Brendan Rodgers…

James McCarthy

Celtic v AZ Alkmaar – James McCarthy at Celtic Park. Photo Andrew Milligan

Arguably the least relevant and least likely player to have any sort of future at Celtic is of course James McCarthy. The Glaswegian joined Celtic two seasons ago in a pre-contract deal that was made prior to Ange Postecoglou’s arrival at the club. McCarthy has made 27 appearances in a Celtic shirt, 22 of those appearances coming in Ange’s first season at the club. There has been no news regarding McCarthy’s future at the club with the Irishman’s contract not up for another two years.

Liam Scales

Liam Scales makes his debut for Celtic during the Premier Sports Cup Quarter-Final match between Celtic FC and Raith Rovers at Celtic Park on September 23, 2021. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

On loan at Aberdeen last season, Liam Scales enjoyed a successful season at Pittodrie, leading to multiple call ups into the Irish national team. Playing 39 times altogether, scoring one goal and contributing one assist as the Irishman helped the Dons achieve a third-place finish. Operating as a left sided centre back in a back three for the majority of the season, Scales was a key part of Barry Robson’s revolution at Aberdeen with many Dons fans wanting the player back at the club permanently.

There are mixed feelings towards the Irish international in Glasgow with many Celtic fans believing he is not good enough for Celtic. Scales has only operated at left back in a Celtic shirt and it would be interesting to see him play in his more natural left sided centre back position. It could be said that there really is not much between Liam Scales and Yuki Kobayashi who is our current third choice centre half. It will be interesting to see if the Wicklow man can make an impression on Brendan Rodgers in the coming weeks.

Michael Johnston

25th May 2019, Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland; Scottish Football Cup Final, Heart of Midlothian versus Celtic; Mikey Johnston of Celtic leaps and brings the ball under control

In Brendan Rodgers’ first stint in Glasgow, Mikey Johnston was a project player in Rodgers eyes who showed tremendous faith in the academy graduate. Johnston shined under the Irishman and was electric on the left wing when he first broke into the Celtic first team.

Hampered by injuries and inconsistency, Johnston fell out of the Celtic first team picture and was eventually loaned out to Vitória de Guimarães last season. The former Scottish U21 international showed glimpses of brilliance in Portugal’s top tier but struggled for consistent game time, scoring three goals and registering five assists in all competitions.

Johnston recently declared for Ireland and made his debut in March in a friendly against Latvia. The pacey left winger has looked excellent in an Irish shirt scoring his first goal in a 3-0 win over Gibraltar recently, but it remains to be seen whether Rodgers sees him as part of his plans.

Bosun Lawal

Celtic v Greenock Morton – Bosun Lawal right heads the ball during the Scottish Cup fourth round match at Celtic Park, Saturday January 21, 2023.Photo Jane Barlow

The Irish U21 international has been a long talked about prospect at the club. Starring for Celtic B team in the Lowland League over the past two seasons, although the Irishman did struggle in Celtic’s Glasgow Cup win over Rangers last season. The 20-year-old arguably needs a loan move to a decent level this season if he is to progress and develop into a Celtic first team player but will hope to impress Rodgers in the coming weeks regardless.

Rocco Vata

Rocco Vata competes for the ball with Isaac Price during the Sydney Super Cup match between Celtic and Everton at Accor Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most exciting Irish player at the club, Rocco Vata could be in for a breakout season if he impresses Rodgers over preseason. Given the managers promising history of developing young players and giving opportunities to academy players such as Mikey Johnston, the Irish u19 international could be given multiple opportunities over the course of the upcoming season. Celtic fans can only hope the exciting talent is given gametime or loaned out this season as to avoid another promising academy player leaving Paradise and seeking development elsewhere.

Do you think any of the current crop of Irish talent has a future at the club?

James French

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1 Comment

  1. Conall McGinty on

    Hit the nail on the head regarding Vata. Easily the brightest prospect of the Irish contingent who needs game time and not in the lowland league. Either Brendan gives him chances in the likes of cup games or loans him out to an attacking team at a half decent standard, similar to McGregor’s loan to Notts County all those years ago. We certainly don’t want to lose him due to lack of opportunities which is happening to often